Monday, 09 July 2007
Aaron Klein reports at WND:
JERUSALEM – Mahmoud Dahlan, a strongman of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, and one of Dahlan's top associates pocketed $52 million in foreign aid – mostly assistance monies from the U.S. meant to bolster Fatah against Hamas, sources in the PA Finance Ministry told WND today.
Dahlan used part of the American aid to invest in construction efforts in Dubai, the PA sources said.
The information comes as the U.S. is poised to send millions more in financial aid to bolster Abbas' militias in the West Bank against Hamas there.
Sources in Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad's office told WND upon recently checking the accounts in which about $60 million in U.S. aid was deposited, Fayyad was shocked to learn only $7 million remained.
The sources said a Finance Ministry investigation determined Dahlan smuggled $27 million and Dahlan's no. 2, Rashid Abu Shabak, former chief of the Palestinian Security Services, smuggled $25 million into their own accounts.
Fayyad already reportedly obtained and confiscated from Dahlan $7 million in smuggled aid.
Dahlan and Shabak were two of only a handful of Fatah officials who had access to the PA accounts in which American aid was stored. Both officials fled the Gaza Strip prior to Hamas takeover of the territory and all U.S.-backed Fatah security compounds there last month.
According to the Finance Ministry sources speaking to WND, there is evidence Dahlan used some of the smuggled aid to invest in construction efforts in Dubai and also for the construction of a building there for his own personal use.
The officials said the vast majority of aid smuggled by Dahlan and Shabak came from the U.S. They said about $2 million was provided by Saudi Arabia.
The report of smuggled U.S. aid comes as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced in recent weeks the U.S. will resume "full assistance to the Palestinian government," lifting an economic and political embargo against the Palestinian government enacted after Hamas came to power in March 2006.
Rice said she will ask Congress to rework a previous $86 million aid package to Abbas that was reduced following concerns by some lawmakers a portion of the money would end up financing terrorism. Congress in April only approved about $59 million of the aid package and stipulated the money cannot be used to purchase weapons. Rice intends to request Congress now grant the full $86 million.
Rice also said the U.S. would contribute an additional $40 million to the United Nations to help Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which is now controlled by Hamas.
According to Palestinian and Israeli diplomatic sources, the bulk of the $86 million is slated to be used to fund Force 17, which serves as de facto police units in the West Bank and previously patrolled the Hamas-seized Gaza Strip. Dahlan and Shabak headed Force 17.
Many members of Force 17 are also openly members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, which took responsibility together with Islamic Jihad for every suicide bombing in Israel the last two years...
Posted on 07/09/2007 8:18 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 09 July 2007
Dr. Andrew Bostom writes at Frontpage:
The London and Glasgow terror attacks have highlighted the prominent role played by Muslim physicians during the global resurgence of jihad witnessed over the past four decades. Although such violent actions targeting innocent life were openly sanctioned by Osama bin Laden’s Muslim physician mentor, Abdallah Azzam, (and indeed the London/Glasgow plots may have been approved by Bin Laden himself), they represent the most profound violation of basic medical ethics, and what it means to be a physician.
Canadian-born physician Sir William Osler, MD (1849-1919) revolutionized the teaching and training curricula of North American medical schools. Within 7-months of his death on December 29, 1919, Osler delivered a lecture entitled, “The Old Humanities and the New Science” celebrating the strong humanistic aspirations of modern medicine even in the face of the tragic carnage of World War I. He observed that,
The dynamo replaced the steam-engine, radiant energy revealed the hidden secrets of matter, to the conquest of the earth was added the control of the air and the mastery of the deep. Nor was it only an Age of Force. Never before had man done so much for his brother, the victory over the powers of Nature meant also glorious victories of peace; pestilences were checked, the cry of the poor became articulate, and to help the life of the submerged half became a sacred duty of the other.
The fulminant recrudescence of jihadism during the latter half of the 20th century through the present, has been accompanied by a grotesque distortion of Osler’s vision: a burgeoning cadre of Muslim physicians—epitomized by those linked to the recent London and Glasgow terror plots —lacking the most basic professional and personal ethics, have adopted a warped credo, albeit consistent with the doctrine of jihad war, which has been aptly characterized as “terror is healing”. Indeed, even the much lionized “progressive” Muslim theologian Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, who was hanged (1985) as an “apostate” in a transparent act of political oppression by the Sudanese government, and recently hailed by journalist George Packer as the “anti-(Islamic fundamentalist Sayyid) Qutb”, made the following hideous analogy between jihad war, and the surgical instrument of healing, a physician’s lancet/scalpel:
Islam used persuasion for thirteen years in propagating its clearly valid message…When the addressees failed to discharge properly the[ir] duties…the Prophet was appointed as their guardian…once they embraced the new religion [i.e., by coercion]…the sword was suspended…and [they] were penalized according to new laws. Hence the development of Islamic Shari’a law…
In justifying the use of the sword, we may describe it as a surgeon’s lancet, and not a butcher’s knife…We [the Muslims] have enacted fighting with the sword in order to curtail the freedom of those who abuse it, so the sword brings them to their senses, thereby allowing them to earn their freedom and benefit from their life [note: “freedom as perfect slavery to Allah”, the Sufi notion of Ibn Arabi, perhaps?]
Suffering death by the sword in this life is really an aspect of suffering hell in the next life, since both are punishments for disbelief…for the disbelievers the law of war, and hardship of iron
Seminal jihadist ideologue Abdallah Azzam, a Palestinian Muslim physician, and Osama bin Laden’s primary religious instuctor, represents the apotheosis of this modern jihad terrorist “healer” as murderer mentality. But Azzam is merely representative of an entire genre of like-minded Muslim physicians...
Read the rest here.
Posted on 07/09/2007 7:53 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 09 July 2007
U.S. Aborted Raid on Qaeda Chiefs in Pakistan in ‘05.”
So blared the top headline of Sunday’s New York Times. Breathlessly, correspondent Mark Mazzetti reported that reliable intelligence had Ayman al-Zawahiri coming to a meeting in Pakistan’s tribal region. Special-ops forces got all geared up to take him out. Everything was in place to do just that. Then, at the eleventh hour, Donald Rumsfeld got cold feet.
Too risky, the Defense secretary is said to have decided. Too much potential for collateral damage, U.S. casualties, and a jolt to America’s complex relationship with the shaky Musharaff government. So, the Times tut-tuts, the raid was aborted. And thanks to this monumental failure of nerve, the narrative concludes, al Qaeda is resurgent.
Now, hold on just a second. The Gray Lady’s leitmotif for six years running can be lost on none of us: Bush-administration officials are reckless cowboys, insufficiently attentive to the human costs of warfare and clueless about the nuances of diplomacy, right?
So what’s going on? Here we have Bush’s Defense secretary actually factoring in the Times’s top war priorities: Don’t be rash, don’t kill anyone, don’t anger Muslims, don’t upset the international community, etc. Rummy, as if the Times editorial board was calling the plays, decides discretion is the better part of valor and pulls the plug on a risky operation … yet the Times ends up having a snit anyway?
What gives? Why shift gears and paint the administration as feckless and thus responsible for al Qaeda’s growing strength in the Afghan/Pakistan border region?
Gee, I don’t know, maybe because … the Dandy of Pinch-Land, President Bill Clinton, was, in fact, feckless and thus responsible for al Qaeda’s growing strength in the Afghan/Pakistan border region.
Yes, welcome back my friends to the show that never ends: The Bill & Hill Legacy Repair & Legacy-in-the Making Project, headquarters Eighth Avenue and West 40th Street, New York, New York. Today’s message (and please, let’s try to stay on-message): See? Bush isn’t any tougher on al Qaeda than Clinton was, and surely not as tough as a smart, bold President Hillary Clinton would be. For all their bravado, these Bushies had their shot at taking al Qaeda’s top leaders out, but they blinked — and all because they were fretting over collateral consequences. Just like they have the gall to criticize Bill Clinton for doing...
The rest is here.
Posted on 07/09/2007 7:36 AM by Andy McCarthy
Monday, 09 July 2007
UK readers should watch tonight's Channel 4 documentary: The Rise of Anti-Semitism in modern Britain. The programme is at 8pm:
In this authored documentary, journalist Richard Littlejohn investigates the rise of anti-Semitism in modern Britain. Last year, concerns about the rise of reported attacks on Jews prompted an All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into anti-Semitism. The findings made for uncomfortable reading, reporting that anti-Semitism no longer exists solely at the margins of society but that violence, desecration of property and intimidation directed towards Jews is on the increase.
Historically considered the home territory of the extreme right, Littlejohn argues that anti-Semitism now has a foothold among other sections of society. He travels across Britain to see the impact of prejudice; meeting victims of anti-Semitism, visiting a desecrated graveyard and joining a police patrol on the streets of north Manchester where Jews struggle to visit the local synagogue for fear of attack.
Anti-Semitism has been called 'the longest hatred' and Littlejohn seeks to find out why it has moved once more from beyond the margins of society.
Richard Littlejohn, who has written for The Sun and the Evening Standard, has never been politically correct, and has never pussyfooted round Islam or Muslims. So, without wishing to second-guess the content of his documentary, I suspect that Muslims - and the Left - will be uncovered as the source of anti-Semitism. Here are a couple of Littlejohn's remarks about Islam:
"Islamophobia’ is just another of those catch-all, smear-the-messenger fantasies dreamed up to close down debate and stifle free speech."
"...here is a simple cut-out-and-keep guide to the two dominant branches of Islam: Sunnis are the peace-loving, Saudi-backed wing who brought you Al Qaeda. Shias are the peace-loving, Iranian-backed strain behind Hamas and Hezbollah. I hope that helps."
Posted on 07/09/2007 6:26 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 09 July 2007
There have been one or two gratuitously and absurdly disparaging comments about the medical profession floating around, notably here. Perhaps this short piece from The Telegraph will put things in perspective:
Last week I did something that sent my self-esteem tumbling. Not since I sought the help of my neighbour because my computer wasn't working and he immediately diagnosed the problem - I hadn't plugged it in properly - have I felt so inadequate.
The source of my plummeting self-regard was this: I witnessed live open-heart surgery. And there is nothing to make you challenge your own professional pointlessness like seeing someone save a life in front of your eyes.
The event was sponsored by the Wellcome Collection, the new wing of the Wellcome Institute that aims to bring art, science and medicine closer together. To open the collection's building on London's Euston Road it is staging an exhibition called The Heart...
The high spot of the opening week, though, was the renowned surgeon Francis Wells getting his scalpel out for public scrutiny.
"See that bit you just cut off? Will it grow back?" asked one member of the audience, who had clearly confused the properties of a human heart with those of a lizard's tail...
Another onlooker wondered what kind of material was used for the stitches applied to the patient's prolapsed mitral valve. Goretex, Wells replied, like they use in walking boots and anoraks.
In short, it was not standard Thursday evening conversation. For those of us lucky enough to be in the audience, every second was extraordinary.
But for Mr (you don't call a man of his distinction Dr) Wells it was something he did every day. He spoke with utter matter-of-factness, calmly, undemonstratively going about his work as if what he were doing in front of us were no more significant than putting up a set of shelves.
Whereas, in fact, he was making repairs to the vital organ of a man who, without such an intervention, would die within six months.
Afterwards, as I made my way home - occasionally putting my palm over the right side of my chest just to check everything was thumping as it should and then, after a moment's panic realising the heart is on the left - it occurred to me that what I had seen was rather more important than anything most of us accomplish in our daily lives.
Mr Wells's skill, learning and application was astonishing. But, more impressively, all of it was directed towards a morally unimpeachable aim.
Medics like him are shining lights, the conscience of our compromised times, the one profession whose purpose is unequivocal. Which is why it is so shocking to hear that doctors are suspected terrorists.
Mr Wells would doubtless point out that society is much more complex than that and he could not go about his business of saving lives without contributions from others: the steelworker who fashions his scalpel blade, the technician who makes the artificial heart and lung machine, the electrician who wires up the operating theatre.
Even the blokes who laid the tarmac on the A14 so that the surgical staff can get to the hospital quickly and safely play their part in the smooth running of the operation.
All of which doesn't much help you defend your purpose in life when you are involved in a trade providing tomorrow's fish and chip wrappings.
I wonder if Mr Wells was in a bad rock band as a student. Let's not forget the important stuff.
Posted on 07/09/2007 5:19 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 09 July 2007
In July 1989 I had an experience that scared and alienated me, but also made me realise who I was and, more importantly, who I was not — and would never be.
I was 18 and in my first year at Brighton University, where I was studying for a BA in Humanities. I was meeting new people — people of different religions, cultures, ages, sexual orientation, experiences and interests.
I was discovering that I had a lot more in common with British non-Muslims than I had hitherto realised.
That summer two relatives of my mum’s — girls of my own age — came to stay with us, as they had done often in the past. Like me, they were in their first year at university, but they had changed completely. To my horror, the girls I’d known so well — who were fun, happy, easy-going — arrived at our house wearing hijabs. I’d never seen them dressed like that before, and it was totally alien to me — and to my family and to mainstream Pakistani culture.
The two girls I’d know for years, who used to talk about boys, clothes, fashion, music and films, were now wearing Middle Eastern outfits and claiming that this was their new religious identity and it was the true way to dress for any woman claiming to be Muslim.
They told me that they had joined an Islamic group at their university and that there would be daily lectures about Islam. They said that most of these lecturers were from the Middle East. Their key message was that they had to create an Islamic State, which meant that Muslims from all over the world had to unite. These people believed — and believe — that there is no Islamic state and therefore one must be created where all Muslims can live according to the true laws of Islam.
One of girls told me that the ways her parents had brought her up as a Muslim was not the true way and that her parents were misguided and she was trying to educate them through what she had learnt from her Islamic group at university. ‘People like you, Saira, are not Muslims because you are confused with religion and culture,’ she said. ‘There is no culture, there is only religion, and until you accept that you cannot call yourself a Muslim.’
She went on to state, ‘We are not British, we are Muslim.’
My two former companions were extremely well-rehearsed in presenting their arguments. To support a certain line of debate they would recite chapter and verse from the Koran. It’s impossible to argue with someone whose get-out clause is always, ‘It is written in the Koran. We can’t argue with God’s Word.’
Their mother was just as shocked as I was at their transformation, and at the way they spoke and despised Britain so much. As she put it, ‘I sent them to university to study and become doctors and they’ve come back telling me that I’m not a proper Muslim and that I need to wear a hijab.’
It dawned on me after the 7/7 bombings that the seeds of extremism were sown all over Great Britain well before 1989 and that indeed it had been allowed to flourish undeterred in this country for more than 20 years. We in Britain are not fighting a new phenomenon that raised it ugly head in 2005; we are fighting more than 20 years of planning and preparation by those who want Britain to be an Islamic state.
Of course, most British Muslims won’t become violent extremists, but most will endanger society — albeit unwittingly — by supporting and condoning the actions of extremists. Very few will admit this in public, but many will say behind closed doors that they are sympathetic to the bombers’ cause and that they can understand why they are doing it. These things are said in front of young children and justified by various conspiracy theories which nearly always involve Jews, America and the CIA.
Hassan Butt, once a member of the radical group Al-Muhajiroun, wrote a very open and honest account of his experience. He said: ‘I believe that the issue of terrorism can be easily demystified if Muslims and non-Muslims start openly to discuss the ideas that fuel terrorism. (The Muslim community in Britain must slap itself awake from this state of denial and realise that there is no shame in admitting the extremism within our families, communities and worldwide co-religionists.)’
It is people like Hassan Butt that the government must engage with and give priority to, because they can make a difference; it is they who should be heard over the Muslim Council of Britain and many of the Muslim MPs who think they know the community and who in my opinion are too scared to tell the whole truth in case they lose Muslim votes.
There are too few moderate voices among the Muslim community. As a result, the extremists have their say, and are not opposed.
The war against terror cannot be won without moderate Muslims coming out and standing up for British values — the values of integration and living peacefully in a secular society.
British Muslims have to realise that there is no ‘but’ after a sentence like, ‘Iwholeheartedly disagree with the terrorist actions and the killings of innocent civilians.’
Posted on 07/09/2007 3:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 09 July 2007
This is about the situation in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, where I grew up and which I reported upon in March. From the website This is Local London.
A FILM which shows how young Muslim men are being converted into terrorists has been made by a local group.
Active Change Foundation (ACF) based in a tiny office in the Al-Badr Centre in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, says it has the tools to bring recruits back from the brink of radicalisation, and calls its methods "second to none."
But ACF's senior officer, Hanif Qadir said the borough was being affected by a nationwide "recruiting frenzy" and warned of "destruction on much wider scale" if action was not taken.
Without having a proper understanding of Islam, even the more mature and balanced individual would have a hard time to argue against the extreme groups, so you can imagine how easy it is to engage with a young person," he said.
Speaking at Blood for Blood's screening in the salubrious surroundings of the British Academy in Pall Mall, central London, on June 28, Mr Qadir said a second film showing ACF's methods of de-programming was being made, and both halves of the story would be shown together to Government, police and council representatives, and in schools, universities and mosques.
He added: "If we're going up against hard core extremists, then we need hardcore projects, with hardcore values and hardcore people. I sincerely believe this is our jihad."
The film was funded by Waltham Forest police. Borough commander, Mark Benbow, who shared the stage with Mr Qadir, said he supported the project because it showed how easy it was to be turned into terrorists.
He added: "What I like about ACF is they tell it like it is. They're one of the few organisations out there who do. ACF has managed to turn people away from terrorism."
Former Waltham Forest detective, Chief Insp Ian Larnder, now working in counter terrorism at Scotland Yard, agreed: "I think the film really expresses the reality of life for some of our young people. The radicalisation process takes place in our estates, in our universities and in our prisons."
THE LINK between British foreign policy and terrorism on British soil was made clear in the film. Written by Active Change Foundation (ACF's) Hanif Qadir and starring amateur actors from Waltham Forest, Blood for Blood shows a clear link between British foreign policy and radicalisation.
Now we come to the taqiyya. Current British foreign policy is merely the latest excuse in a campaign that is 1400 years long.
Opening with a series of stark news images of the war in Iraq, interspersed with controversial speeches by George Bush and Tony Blair, it goes on to show a young man being persuaded into becoming an Islamist soldier.
The process, which ACF said takes several months or even years in real life, is compressed into one 15 minute conversation.
First the recruiter makes friends with the youth, giving him a sense of brotherhood before preying on his lack of direction, Then he angers him with lurid tales of the suffering of his Muslim brothers and sisters, works on existing feelings of persecution and shames him into thinking he is a bad Muslim if he does not comply.
Mr Qadir said: "To prevent the extreme elements from preaching a false and damaging version of Islam we need to create an environment where the radical recruiters are made to feel useless. We need to handicap them wherever possible - that's how we're going to stem the tide of recruitment."
Violent jihad or demographic jihad: neither are an acceptable choice.
Posted on 07/09/2007 2:40 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 09 July 2007
Posted on 07/09/2007 1:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 08 July 2007
American English is very different from
proper British English. Spelling, vocabulary, punctuation, hyphens - it's surprising we can read it at all, even in our own accent.
I noticed in this post the word "indiscrete". From the context, this means "conspicuous", that is, as we would say, "indiscreet". "Discreet" to me means prudent or tactful. "Discrete" means separate or distinct.
Do Americans have two discrete meanings for these words, or have they been discreetly conflated into an indiscrete spelling and meaning?
Perhaps I should have put that more tactfully, discretion being the better part of valour.
Posted on 07/08/2007 5:27 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 08 July 2007
The judge in this case gave a reduced sentence because of the defendant's remorse. The defendant convinced him that he was going to turn over a new leaf.
Posted on 07/08/2007 5:13 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 08 July 2007
A local Johnny Cochran should present the following defense. He was merely on his way to a costume ball of Merrimac merrymakers, going as Birnam Wood on its way to Dunsinane, when he stopped at a bank, by the banks of that selfsame Merrimac, to pick up some cash from the ATM, and a teller misconstrued his costume, and tremblingly handed over the cash, which my client in confusion confounded then proceeded to pocket without counting, and exited the bank and then the police came, and one thing led to another, and so you see, your honor, he's got the cash right here, and is eager to give it back, and all's well that ends well...
Posted on 07/08/2007 4:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 08 July 2007
BANGALORE, India (Reuters) - Indian police said on Sunday they had seized CDs containing material about the Islamist conflicts in Chechnya and Iraq from the home of two Indian suspects in the car bomb plot in Britain.
A senior police official said officers had found the CDs in the family home of Kafeel Ahmed, 27, and his brother Sabeel, 26, both arrested by British police in relation to the plot.
"Some CDs are about the Islamic struggle in Chechnya and Iraq. We are examining the CDs for Jihadi content," said a police officer, closely associated with the investigations into the two men.
Indian police said authorities in Bangalore were also investigating whether the U.K. car bombing plot was conceived or planned in the southern Indian city.
"All angles are being looked into. Investigations are continuing," Police Commissioner Achuta Rao said,
Posted on 07/08/2007 4:12 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 08 July 2007
MANCHESTER. NH – Police said this morning a tip has led them to an arrest in the leafy robber case.
James Coldwell, 49, of 50 Lowell St. has been charged with robbery in connection with a Saturday morning holdup at the Citizens Bank branch at 1550 Elm St.
The robber had duct taped tree banches to his head and torso to disguise himself, police said...
The bank, situated just north of downtown at the corner of Elm and West Brook streets, was closed as city and state police investigated the incident. Police cruisers blocked off the entrances to the bank, and state police dogs were sent to the scene to do what they do best: sniff out trees...
Manchester Police Detective Sgt. Ernie Goodno said the robber was a white man, standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a thin build and very dark hair. He wore a bluish-colored T-shirt, possibly with red trim, and blue jeans. He also had thick glasses, Goodno said.
Then there was the foliage. "He had tree branches duct-taped on his person, as if he was trying to camouflage himself in the woods," Goodno said.
Apparently he didn't realize there are no more elm trees on Elm Street.
Despite his indiscrete getup, the robber got away with an undisclosed amount of cash -- and all his leaves intact.
The police investigation attracted the attention of several curious onlookers both outside the branch and driving along Elm Street, as well as a few bank customers who had hoped to make transactions.
Images of the robber on bank cameras were of little help, said Capt. Richard Tracy. "You can't see much, except for the leaves around his head," Tracy said last night. "There are no leads yet. But we're trying to pick him up in time for recycling."
Posted on 07/08/2007 2:34 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 08 July 2007
Rolf Harris is, I believe, the only famous digeridoer. Although now in his late seventies, he still performs, and performed in Shepherd's Bush about six years ago. "For a laugh" and dressed in inverted commas, I went with some colleagues to watch him. He now has an audience ranging from teens to fifties.
Most of the time he sang. As for the didgeridoo, he did have a little blow, but had to hand the job over to a younger man. Many a good tune can be played on an old fiddle, but when it comes to didgeridoos - didgeridon't.
Posted on 07/08/2007 12:19 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 08 July 2007
"Let ae deil dang another."
An expression of indifference at two villains quarreling.
[From "Scottish Proverbs," Edinburgh: Chambers, 1989, p. 44]
Posted on 07/08/2007 11:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 08 July 2007
MOROCCO'S security forces were on maximum alert today after "established terror threats" by what experts said was the regional branch of al-Qaeda. --from this news item
And all the "thick description" of Cllifford Geertz who, en depit d'Andre Weil, managed to get his professorship at the Institute for Advanced Study, which he supplies in "Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia" will be irrelevant. Islam may not be "monolithic" -- different kinds of clothing, from dishdashas to kalmiz shalwar, all kinds of turbans and footwear, many different cuisines -- but still in the end the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, that provide the three stools of the Total System of Islam, which purports to offer, which does offer, a Complete Regulation of Daily Life and a Total Explanation of the Universe unify the members of the umma al-Islamiyya.
Claiming Sherifian descent, the kings of Morocco have had a long run. Their police state -- see what happened to Ben Barka (see "L'enlevement de la France" while you are at it), snatched from the sidewalk in front of the Brasserie Lipp, see what happened to Mohammad Oufkir -- may or may not be effective enough to deal with this threat to the regime, corrupt of course but not as corrupt as some -- as Mubarak, say, with his Family-and-Friends Plan, or the incredibly greedy and malevolent Al-Saud -- because there is just less money to steal, and besides, without oil, Morocco relies on tourism, dates, and the use of its couleur locale for the revenues to be obtained from the tournage of Western movies -- (a Felliniesque "Ciak!" to be inserted right here).
Morocco is not "our ally." Morocco is not a wonderful place. Morocco is just -- Morocco.
Posted on 07/08/2007 11:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 08 July 2007
"I have a lot of Muslim friends and they see themselves as British. We've got to be very careful. The threat is to our British way of life and all of our British people."-- from a statement by Alan West, recently appointed to "sort out" the problem of "radical" Islam
Is Alan West familiar with Muhammad's famous statement that "war is deception"? Is he familiar with how so much in Muhammad's life -- to the great admiration of Muslims -- put into practice what he preached, for he deceived those who would not succumb to him, whether individuals or tribes, and relished their gory fate -- Muhammad, "uswa hasana" and "al-insan al-kamil"?
Does Alan West know for a certainty that although he has a "lot of Muslim friends" those "friends"the only reason those friends do not tell him about Qur'an 5.51, which tells Muslims they must not take "Jews and Christians as friends" and that in many other places, in the Qur'an, and in the Hadith, explains the evil of Unbelievers, and why they are to be shunned, is only because they are embarrassed by all this, and want to spare his feelings? And is that why they also refrain from telling him about why Muslims are taught that it is permissible to feign temporary friendship with Infidels for one purpose: to promote and protect Islam? Are these teachings familiar to Alan West? And what does he make of the reaction of local Muslims to the effort by American and British soldiers to help build hospitals and schools and power grids in Iraq, and to keep Iraqis from killing each other, and yet have only been dealt with meretriciously, by local Muslims, at almost every turn? Has Alan West consulted with Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the unfoolable head of France's counter-terrorism? Has he talked to those non-Muslims who have grown up in the Muslim world, and have, as Jews and Christians, or Hindus (in Pakistan and Bangladesh and Indonesia), or Buddhists (in southern Thailand or, in small numbers, in Indonesia)?
Is Alan West aware of what Boumedienne said about how the Arabs and Islam would conquer Europe, which had resisted outright military conquest by the Arabs, through the wombs of Muslim women -- a statement made in public, at the U.N., in 1974? Is he aware of how often this demographic conquest is discussed in the newspapers (even in "Dawn," the English-language Pakistani paper), of Dar al-Islam (he does know, doesn't he, about the permanent state of war between Believers and Infidels that Islam teaches must exist, and he does know, doesn't he, that Dar al-Islam must expand until it eventually swallows up Dar al-Harb, so that Islam dominates everywhere, and everywhere Muslims rule?
Does Alan West think that having "a lot of Muslim friends" - charming people, liquid-brown-eyed, soft-voiced, self-deprecating smile, the whole works -- might actually be past masters at this game, and it is not for the innocent Westerners to rely on this or that "Muslim friend" or "colleague" (you know, like that nice Pakistani in the I.T. department who asks about your children, and shows much more interest than any of your hard-as-nails interested-only-in-their-job non-Muslim colleagues?) is enough? What about a little book-reading, to supplement mere "personal experience"? What about following in time and space the history of Islam, the history of Islamic conquest, to see if indeed it is widely various, if indeed that business about Islam being a religion "of peace" means what some take it to mean, if indeed the behavior of his "lot of Muslim friends" is sufficient for him to rely on in the making of high policy, in the attempt not to preen over his own "tolerance" and greater understanding -- moral self-preening should have no place -- but to protect others, those to whom he has a responsibility, a solemn duty, to find out -- starting with what the books and what the many articulate defectors from Islam have offered as their own testimony, and what the hundreds of Western scholars who devoted their lives to the study of Islam and the history of Islamic conquest, in the century (roughly 1860-1960) wrote before the Period of Arab Money and the Collaborators took over the academic study of Islam, and managed to throttle, and almost consign to a permanent submersion in Lethe, all those scholars -- Snouck Hurgronje, Arthur Jeffery, Antoine Fattal, K. S. Lal, St. Clair Tisdall, Henri Lammens, Samuel Zwemer, Edmond Fagnan, Georges Vajda, Charles-Emmanuel Dufourcq --who are now being, thank god, and just in time, re-discovered, re-published, and re-read, as people are now fed up with the espositos, armstrongs, kepels and roys, who have so badly misinformed them.
Continued ignorance on the part of West, and in the West, is no longer possible. He has a duty to inform himself, as we have a duty, to ourselves, to fully inform ourselves and to inform others as best we can.
Otherwise, Alan West should get out of the way.
Posted on 07/08/2007 11:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 08 July 2007
Ever keen to improve my understanding of world music, I have been exploring didgeridoo culture—at any rate, I have read the Wikipedia article
on the noble instrument. What riches!
A mysterious etymology, for example:
"'Didgeridoo' is usually considered to be an onomatopoetic word of Western invention, but it has been said that it may be derived from the Irish words dúdaire or dúidire, meaning variously 'trumpeter; constant smoker, puffer; long-necked person, eavesdropper; hummer, crooner' and dubh, meaning 'black' (or duth, meaning 'native'). It is alleged that upon seeing the instrument played for the first time, a British army Officer turned to his Gaelic aide and asked 'What's that?', to which the aide bemusedly replied, 'dúdaire dubh,' meaning 'black piper.' However, this is unlikely as the Irish word for a black person is actually 'fear gorm' (literally 'blue person')..."
(That the Irish cannot distinguish between blue and black is a bit surprising. They never seem to have had any trouble telling orange from green.)
And then there is the "List of notable didgeridoo players
." You can't help but admire these performers, toiling away doggedly on the remotest frontiers of musicianship, unappreciated and unknown. (Except for Rolf Harris, who I remember seeing on the telly in the 1960s, brandishing his didgeridoo.)
We should note, however, that English spellings like "dge" for the voiced common affricate and "oo" for the long form of the close back round vowel, are demeaning and hurtful to persons of aboriginality. The approved spelling is now "didjeridu."
Posted on 07/08/2007 11:12 AM by John Derbyshire
Sunday, 08 July 2007
Mary Killen, The Spectator's Miss Manners, published this letter:
Q. I am the organist in our small village church and am frequently approached by neighbouring church wardens and vicars as to whether I am willing to deputise in their church. I would appreciate your help in wording my enquiry as to the size of their organ without causing an embarrassed silence or a raised eyebrow.
Name and address withheld
A. The conductor and director of music at Tonbridge School, Hilary Davan Wetton, advises you that, ‘Since the organ is very much a hands-on instrument perhaps it would be better to discuss the number of manuals, pipes or stops, rather than making any direct reference to size.’
I am quite baffled as to the cause of any embarrassment or eyebrow-raising at such an innocent enqury. In any case, it is not the size that matters but how you play it. A good swell is always pleasing.
Posted on 07/08/2007 9:15 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 08 July 2007
Jeanette Winterson laments the dead speech of today's politicians:
HOORAY! NO MORE RED LINES IN THE sand, blue sky thinking, hearts and minds, your call, y’know . . . Tony Blair has gone, and taken with him the worn-out clichés and Bee Gees-style lyrics, sorry, plain down-to-earth-sort-of-a-guy appeals to “the people”. Let’s hope his dead language will evaporate with him into the noisome chic of Cool Britannia...
The taut discipline of poetry, allowing both richness and exactness, has hardly been heard in politics since Churchill, possibly the last great politician to believe that art and culture were integral to life. For nearly all politicians, the arts are a bolt-on optional extra, uncomfortably elitist, and probably a waste of time.
I would like to be Minister for Culture, but I don’t suppose it's going to happen. What would I want? Not more money but real energy; no more apologising, no more questionnaires or public value exercises, no hand-wringing or justifying. Show people that art is for them and it becomes so. Above all put a rigorous, rich language back at the centre of political discourse. This can only happen when we realise that language is not just about conveying information, but is in itself a way of thinking. If your language is impoverished, your thinking will shrink to fit it.
Where is my proof? Try learning a foreign language and realise how little complexity you can manage. For most of us, thanks to decades of poor education and dumbed-down television, English no longer stretches our minds. In everyday life this is boring; in politics it is a disaster...
Will Gordon Brown be different? I suppose he might read Tam O’Shanteron Burns Night, and has promised to disinfect the language of politics from its current state of sweet rot. The spray tactics of the Blair years – political animals laying false trails and throwing the rest of us off the scent, may, perhaps, be over.
I wouldn't bank on it. Never mind poetry, Gordon Brown can't even speak plain prose. If Brown wishes to improve the language of politics, he should start by calling Islamic terrorists what they are.
Posted on 07/08/2007 9:05 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 08 July 2007
"One said it [restrictions on Muslim migration] was unconstitutional."-- from a reader describing a program on Fox during which "experts" discussed restrictions
Nonsense. On what theory? "Equal protection of the laws"? How does that apply to foreigners? Any country is entitled, or should be entitled, to decide for itself who it wants to settle within it. The citizens and government of that country have a perfect right to consider the Total Belief-system, where such exists, of those who wish to enter the country. They have a right to examine the behavior of the adherents of such a system in many other lands, now, and in the past, and are entitled to draw conclusions from the lengthy historical record, as well as today's news and tomorrow's headlines.
Posted on 07/08/2007 8:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 08 July 2007
The Washington Post leads with a story about how the Bush Administration is grasping at straws to show "progress" in Iraq by substituting symbolic gestures for the concrete political progress Congress had mandated as part of its war-funding bill.
The Iraqi government is unlikely to meet any of the political and security goals or timelines President Bush set for it in January when he announced a major shift in U.S. policy, according to senior administration officials closely involved in the matter. As they prepare an interim report due next week, officials are marshaling alternative evidence of progress to persuade Congress to continue supporting the war.
In a preview of the assessment it must deliver to Congress in September, the administration will report that Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province are turning against the group al-Qaeda in Iraq in growing numbers; that sectarian killings were down in June; and that Iraqi political leaders managed last month to agree on a unified response to the bombing of a major religious shrine, officials said.
Those achievements are markedly different from the benchmarks Bush set when he announced his decision to send tens of thousands of additional troops to Iraq. More troops, Bush said, would enable the Iraqis to proceed with provincial elections this year and pass a raft of power-sharing legislation. In addition, he said, the government of President Nouri al-Maliki planned to "take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November."
Congress expanded on Bush's benchmarks, writing 18 goals into law as part of the war-funding measure it passed in the spring...
Late last year, amid strong doubts about Maliki's leadership capabilities, senior White House officials considered trying to engineer the Iraqi president's replacement. But most have now concluded that there are no viable alternatives and that any attempt to force a change would only worsen matters.
Instead, U.S. officials in Baghdad are engaged in a complicated hand-holding exercise with Iraqi leaders, and are striving for small gains rather than major advancement. The main example of success they cite is agreement reached by the top Shiite, Sunni and Kurd officials in the government to appeal for calm after last month's bombing of the Shiite shrine in Samarra.
Do you think it might be dawning on anyone that we are dealing with a society built on an entirely different set of precepts from our own?
Officials are encouraged by the growing numbers of local Sunni officials and tribal leaders in Anbar striving to wrest political and security control from al Qaeda in Iraq. Bush has also highlighted the importance of such local efforts. "This is where political reconciliation matters most," he said in a speech last month, "because it is where ordinary Iraqis are deciding whether to support new Iraq."
But officials caution that this transformation is no substitute for a national Iraqi identity, with unified leadership in Baghdad. Maliki's Shiite-dominated government must continue to reach out to Anbar "and give these emerging tribal forces status, adopting them," a U.S. official said...
Facing increased public disapproval and eroding Republican support, Bush has stepped up his warnings that a sudden U.S. withdrawal would allow al-Qaeda or Iran -- or both -- to take over Iraq. What is more likely, several officials said, is a deeper split between competing Shiite groups supported in varying degrees by Iran, and greater involvement by neighboring Arab states in Sunni areas battling al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Kurdish region, officials said, would become further estranged from the rest of Iraq, and its tensions with Turkey would increase.
"I can't say that al-Qaeda is going to take over, or that Iran is going to take over," an official said. "I don't think either are true. But I do think that a lot of very, very bad things would happen." If the administration decided to have troops retreat to bases inside Iraq and not intervene in sectarian warfare, he said, the U.S. military could find itself in a position that "would make the Dutch at Srebrenica look like heroes."
For its part, the military has calculated that a veto-proof congressional majority is unlikely to demand a full, immediate withdrawal. But however long the troops remain, and in whatever number, the military intelligence official said, they see a clear mission ahead. "We're going to get it as stable as we can, with the troops we have, and in the time available. And then, we'll back out as carefully as we can," the official said.
Posted on 07/08/2007 8:27 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 08 July 2007
I enjoy, and regularly post about, Dot Wordsworth's observations in The Spectator. They are always entertaining and informative, and she has something of the pedant about her when it comes to confusion and sloppiness in language usage. She it was who first broke the momentous news that English has a gerundive. Readers' lives, I am sure, have never been the same since.
Understanding the difference between the gerundive ("whipping cream") and the "gerund" ("whipping post") is, arguably, not as important as understanding the looming Islamic threat. I would rather post about the first, however, because Islam is boring. Because all I know of Dot Wordsworth is her column on words, I vaguely imagine that she does not think about Islam or other such frightening but dull topics. So I was somewhat taken aback by the last paragraph of her latest column on the word "innocent":
Our ideas of the connotations of the word innocent are not sharp. It certainly means ‘not guilty’, but it can also imply a lack of experience of evil-doing. The Innocents that Herod massacred are the archetype of inexperienced innocents. Innocentius was taken as a Christian name, and the first of 13 popes of that name had the misfortune to see Rome conquered by the Goths under Alaric in 410.
Lambs and the ‘simple’ are innocent, for they are guiltless, but there is also in them an element of harmlessness — that the innocent will do us no harm. The popular brand of fruit drinks called Innocent suggests both guiltlessness and harmlessness by using a halo on its label. In this sense the word is related to innocuous, through the Latin nocere, ‘to harm’.
Terrorists refuse to see their victims as innocent. One of those convicted last year of plotting to blow up the Ministry of Sound nightclub had said, ‘No one can even turn around and say, “Oh they were innocent” — those slags dancing around.’
The thinking was that, since nightclubbers displayed Western decadence, they deserved to die. The Bali victims, by contrast, were held in some way to be allies of Australia in its military intervention in an Islamic country. ‘We had warned Australia about its participation in Afghanistan,’ said a tape-recording attributed to Osama bin Laden after the bombing.
As it happened, only 88 of the 202 killed were Australians, but Islamist terrorism does not act as a just judge of individual responsibility. In the Dar al-Harb, the land of war, there are no innocent bystanders.
True, and this must be considered whenever Muslims, quite sincerely in their way, condemn the taking of "innocent lives". On another point, I am sure that Dot Wordsworth would normally oppose the addition of superfluous suffixes. She would not, for example, say "transportation" when she meant "transport". "We don't send our convicts to Australia anymore," she would huff. So let's have less of the "Islamist" please. "Muslim" is the word. Islam is the problem. The suffix "-ist" or "-ism" obscures.
Posted on 07/08/2007 5:54 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 08 July 2007
From The Sunday Times. I came to the site where I met Rebecca and Hugh the week the babies of Beslan were tortured and murdered. This strikes me as more of the same. Words fail me, for once.
SAIMA KHAN wants to die a martyr. Life is transient, she told her father in a telephone call last week, and the real glory is to sacrifice it for Allah. Her statement would be alarming at any age, but Saima is only 10.
As she spoke, rifle shots rang out, the acrid smell of tear gas drifted over Islamabad and hundreds of troops surrounded the pro-Taliban Red Mosque, a religious school complex in the heart of Pakistan’s capital where Saima was among hundreds of children being held as virtual hostages in a stand-off between militants and the government.
Saima and her 14-year-old sister, Asma, were embroiled in a struggle for the soul of Pakistan in which up to 70 militants died last week and more than 100 were injured, according to mosque officials.
Holed up inside the complex behind the lines of troops and razor wire, the children – many of them girls whose families had sent them to the mosque to receive a strict Islamic education – repeatedly rejected relatives’ entreaties to leave before a threatened army onslaught.
There was evidence that many had been brainwashed into a cult of martyrdom, and the authorities feared last night that some were being prepared to be suicide bombers. In barely eight weeks, Saima had been transformed from a religious but fun-loving girl to a jihadi, grimly craving martyrdom.
At the barricades, her father, Luftullah Khan, a shopkeeper, frantically pestered soldiers to let him rescue both his daughters. But when he got through to them on their mobile telephone, they said they preferred martyrdom to freedom.
“I spoke to my daughter. She said there was no food or water left. I tried to arrange a meeting, but she said, ‘We’re here; my dead body will be here. I will not leave my teachers’,” Khan said.
Militant leaders said yesterday that 30 girls had been buried in a mass grave inside the mosque grounds. Two more students died in fighting overnight. The children attend the Jamia Hafsa and the Jamia Faridia, two local madrasahs, or religious schools. The militants have herded their students into the basement of the mosque.
Ghazi, who claimed that 1,800 children remained inside, said yesterday he had divided the boys and girls into two camps. “The boys are the first line of defence, then the girls,” he said. “They have all sworn an oath on the Koran that they will fight to the death.”
Wasn’t this the madrassa that Molly Campbell contemplated joining?
“We have reports that women and children have been locked in the basement floors. If we blow any of the walls, the whole building would collapse on them,” said one officer.
For one family at least there was a happy ending of sorts. As a gun battle raged late on Friday, with snipers on the roof of the mosque forcing the army back to its lines 100 yards away, Khan, the father who had been pleading with his two daughters to leave, called them on their mobile phone and told them their mother was outside. She had been taken ill and lay unconscious on the pavement, he said.
It was a lie but it worked. The two girls quickly left the compound and found their waiting father in the crowd. “I’m taking them back to our village,” said Khan. “They were ready for martyrdom and they’re very angry with me. I’m just happy I’ve got my daughters back, and sorry for those whose daughters are still in there.”
Saima, in a bitter, fanatical voice that belied her 10 years, told The Sunday Times her father had cheated her of martyrdom. “The teachers taught us about martyrdom and that it is a great achievement,” she said.
“I could see the fighting was in front of me and I could understand that we would die. I felt real anger about what my father did. He tricked me.”
Read it all.
Posted on 07/08/2007 2:54 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 07 July 2007
Fawaz Gerges, professor and television "analyst," wants to make sure that Infidels are greatly impressed with all the "ferment" and movement toward "reform" that is supposedly visible all over the "world of Islam." It is guff and blague, but useful for a transparent propagandist for Islam, and the peoples and states suffused with Islam, all over Dar al-Islam.
Someone who is apparently impressed with Fawaz Gerges is one Anthony T. Sullivan, founder and man beneficiary of a "consulting firm" known as "Near Eastern Support Services" (think James Akins, think Eugene Bird, think Raymond Close, and you'll know exactly what is going on here). Recently Sullivan managed to hornswoggle the editors of "Modern Age," a publication put out by the Intercollegiate Studies Association (which should put one in mind of Richard Weaver, Friedrich von Hayek, and Josef Pieper, not of Muslim apologetics, and certainly not of Fawaz Gerges), iinto publishing his piece all about that ferment, that "reform," within Islam that Infidels should do nothing to disrupt. In this Sullivanesque view, a view that Gerges pushes, there is some kind of "the battle goes on for the soul of Islam." In order to ensure that the Good Muslims triumph over the Bad Muslims, Infidels must be attuned to, solicitous of, Muslim sensibilities. No critical scrutiny of Islam. Acceptance of what self-anointed "moderate Muslims" ("moderate" in what way? to what end? for how long? with what degree of certainty?) tell us to think about Islam, as an inoffensive faith somehow kidnapped or hijacked or captured by Bad Muslims, who haven't a textual leg, apparently, to stand on. And not only must Islam be free from Infidel scrutiny and criticism, but key words must be left out of the Infidel vocabulary altogether. Gordon Brown has apparently told his Cabinet not to use the word "Islamic" near the word "terrorism," lest the British government offend.
And in Washington, a man closely connected to the Saudis, James Guerrard -- some say the Saudi Embassy and the Saudi lobby, all-powerful as ever, channel their views right through him -- keeps pushing the view that the word "jihad" should never be used by Infidels, but only the word "hirabah" that the Saudi government favors, a word which lets Islam as a belief-system off the hook, and implies simply an ideological disorder that can in time be cured.
The article by Anthony T. Sullivan in "Modern Age" perfectly encapsulates this line of apologetics, and no doubt its appearance will enable Sullivan to hike the fees that his Near East Support Services charges to sky-high levels, when he makes his pitch, or pitches his woo, to members of the Al-Saud or Al-Maktoum or Al-Thani or Al-Sabah families -- but really, we all have to eat, don't we?). In this article Sullivan tries to convince us, yet again, that the world of Islam is in a ferment, experiencing a veritable orgy of self-questioning and "reform." And Sullivan quotes, to this deliberately misleading effect, Fawaz Gerges: "We are in the throes of a ...new wave [of democratization]."
About this one can say several things.
1) it is flatly untrue. Those naive hopes about "the opening up of the Mubarak regime" were smashed with the same club that the Egyptian police use to smash political opponents, and the truest Egyptian democrat now sits in an Egyptian jail. Ditto with the supposed "opening up" of Saudi Arabia -- purely trivial and cosmetic steps.
2) It ignores the fact that the principles of modern advanced democracy are flatly contradicted by Islam. The will expressed by the people, mere mortals who should be submissive to Allah, does not count; what counts is the will expressed by Allah in the Qur'an, and glossed by the Sunnah. This is something that Bush, Rice, and many others simply don't understand -- they don't understand that Islam is a total belief-system, a Total System, doubly totalitarian, claiming to regulate every area of a Believer's life, and laying claim as well to the entire globe.
3) "Democracy" when it is temporarily practiced always leads to more, not less, Islam. This is because the discontent of Muslims, over bad government, will always take on an Islamic cast, always lead to more Islam, not less. And that is true whether or not the discontent is justified, as it is, certainly, with the corruptions of Abbas and Fatah, or Mubarak and his Family-and-Friends plan, or the Al-Saud, the Al-Maktoum, the Al-Thani, the Al-Sabah, and all the other despots and potentates and beglerbegs and pashas of this world that some insist, absurdly, as seeing as somehow akin to our own world, when it is nothing like it.
I don't know if Gerges has gotten on the gravy train of government and foundation grants to study, or promote, the "reform of Islam" that he and others, eager for the same grant money, keep talking about. Perhaps his television retainer, and other fees, are enough. But in Fawaz Gerges' case, I doubt it. No, I'm sure some "reforming Islam' grant money (Vartan Gregorian's Carnegie Foundation? Or some other innocent, shelling out the dough?) has gone, is going, or will go his, Fawaz Gerges', way.
Surely you don't disagree.
Posted on 07/07/2007 12:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald